Sunday, December 03, 2006

Opinion: Do you agree with the reported conclusions/decisions of the Iraq Study Group?

Iraq Panel to Urge Pullout Of Combat Troops by '08
By Peter Baker and Thomas E. Ricks
Washington Post Staff Writers Friday, December 1, 2006; Page A01

The bipartisan Iraq Study Group plans to recommend withdrawing nearly all U.S. combat units from Iraq by early 2008 while leaving behind troops to train, advise and support the Iraqis, setting the first goal for a major drawdown of U.S. forces, sources familiar with the proposal said yesterday.

The commission plan would shift the U.S. mission in Iraq to a secondary role as the fragile Baghdad government and its security forces take the lead in fighting a Sunni insurgency and trying to halt sectarian violence. As part of major changes in the U.S. presence, sources said, the plan recommends embedding U.S. soldiers directly in Iraqi security units starting as early as next month to improve leadership and effectiveness.

The call to pull out combat brigades by early 2008 would be more a conditional goal than a firm timetable, predicated on the assumption that circumstances on the ground would permit it, according to the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the commission's report will not be released until next week. But panel members concluded that it is vital to set a target to put pressure on Iraqi leaders to do more to assume responsibility for the security of their country.

"It's really about transitioning from a combat to a support role, and basically making very clear that this is no longer an open-ended commitment and we're going to get this done whether the Iraqis like it or not," said one of the sources. "Everybody understands that we're at the end of the road here."

The choice of early 2008 as a goal could also, intentionally or not, change the nature of the debate over the war at the height of the U.S. presidential primary season. If the commission's plan is successful, the war might recede as an issue, as many strategists in both parties hope. But if U.S. commanders do not meet that goal, or if they do but violence only escalates, it may inflame the struggles for both parties' nominations.

Democrats, who captured control of both houses of Congress in last month's midterm elections, and some Republicans have pushed strongly for a timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops. But President Bush has firmly resisted such demands, warning that it would amount to surrender and could destabilize Iraq even further.


At a news conference yesterday after a summit with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Amman, Jordan, Bush seemed to douse the idea of withdrawal in response to news reports about the Iraqi Study Group's recommendations. "This business about graceful exit just simply has no realism to it whatsoever," Bush said.

But aides later cautioned against interpreting that as opposition to any change in the U.S. troop posture. "That's not the case," said one senior official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "His position is he's not entering this process with defeat on his mind" for the sole purpose of getting out, the official said.

11 comments:

KimK said...

I agree with some of the decisions of the Iraq Study Group. I think it is a good idea to withdraw most U.S. combat units by 2008, leaving some to train and assist the Iraqis. I also think it is a good idea to have the U.S. play only a secondary role in the government and leave more power to the Iraqis; however, if things get out of control, we may need to step back in. However, I do not think it is a good idea to put U.S. soldiers directly in Iraqi security units. First of all, what language will they be speaking? Also, it will not help Iraqis take control any faster. Overall, though, I think it is a good plan and has much potential.

Megan B said...

I feel that I can not truly react to the recommendations of the group since the report itself has not come out yet. But to respond to the leeks to the media, I, like Kim, think that the recommendations from the Iraq Study Group are overall good. I think setting a "lose deadline" will put more pressure on the Iraqis, to assume the responsibilities of a democratic form of government. The lose 2008 deadline will help the Iraqis realize that, we (the U.S.) don’t intend to have combat troops in their country at the ready forever, and that their, Iraqi, troops will need to step up to secure their own country. Additionally this “lose deadline” will allow the Iraqis to take “baby steps” toward securing their own country, with the U.S. aiding them on their path to taking full control. As for embedding U.S. soldiers in Iraqi units, I feel that could be a great way for the Iraqi units to gain knowledge, and experience while they are working toward taking a leading role in their own countries security. As for the language barrier that this may present, I personally would recommend that the U.S. military only put small groups of their commanders who have learned to speak or previously spoke Arabic, in the running for being embedded in the Iraqi units. I think that small groups of soldier should be embedded, because in life and death situations they would be able to rely on people they have known and trained with, and that they know how at least a few of the others in the unit will react, being able to predict their actions. I also feel that in addition to President Bush's decision on the proper level of troops, he should consult the Iraqi Prime Minster on when he thinks the "lose deadline" should be set, which he may have done in their latest meeting in Jordan.

tonileep said...

I also agree with the majority of the decisions of the Iraq Study Group. The idea to withdraw U.S. combat units by early 2008 is a very good idea and leaving some troops to assist and lead the Iraqis. In addition to, I think that the US government should only play a secondary role in their government and provide the Iraqis with more power. I don't think that US soldiers should be put directly into Iraqi security units. I agree with Kim that it will not help Iraqis take control any faster. I think this plan is very good and it will be interesting to see how it will turn out in the future.

BrandonSh said...

We can't be sure of what exactly the study group is going to say, but if they do suggest removing the majority of troops and only keeping those needed for training, I agree. Hopefully the Iraqi government can control the situation. On CNN or MSNBC this morning a retired general made a good point when he said that this is no longer a military operation. The U.S. military cannot win against Insurgents. This has become a political battle and U.S. forces can no longer be effective because they are not fighting a military force.

Also this morning, they showed part of an interview that will be on Meet The Press later tonight. It was really funny because a republican who was associated with Donald Rumsfeld (I don't remember who it was) said basically the exact thing Mr. Bretzmann said they would. "President Bush NEVER said stay the course, he was always saying that there needed to be changes in Iraq." I found it humorous anyway.

trevorhguy said...

Gasp, Pullout the troops? That sounds like some bipartisan cut-and-running to me. Don’t they know the terrorists will win? Hasn’t anyone told them? Oh, yes I had almost forgotten that instead of calling it cut-and-run it is now “change the course.” The “course” just happens to be a mad dash to back where we came from with our tales behind our legs. Bush is also claiming that he wants the Iraqis to stand up and defend their country. This is a clear contradiction of what is actually happening there. The Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has repeatedly asked Bush to turn over more responsibility and power to the Iraqi government. As a result Bush has called for his resignation. Gasp! Again. So, in conclusion I totally agree that the U.S. should pull out of Iraq A.S.A.P. but what common sense says to do and was Bush actaully does don’t usually coincide.

BrandonK said...

I agree that the idea to withdraw all troops as soon as possible is the right thing to do. It needs to be done the safest way as to prevent as few American and Iraqi casualitites as possible.
I think the most efficient way to do so would be to station troops on the perimeter of Iraq, to help in extreme situations, but to basically allow the Iraqis to govern and control themselves. I believe we will need to wait until December 6th until specific information from the Iraq Study Group is released to the public. At this point what we are hearing is leaked information.

justinbel said...

I have to agree with all the posters who said we should withdraw as soon as possible and give Iraqi government more power to control itself. I think most U.S citizens would also agree with this scenario and is what they want to hear. I also agree with the fact that we should wait until the full study is released and not just go on rumors at this point.

MikeM said...

I agree with some of the reported decisions of the Iraq study group. I think it is a good idea to plan on leaving Iraq by 2008. We are going to have to leave sometime and there is not much more we can do in Iraq.

Jahir D said...

Overall, i beleive that the conclusion that the Iraq Study Group reached is a good one. That is, as long as it is not a strict timetable and is able to change depending on the current situation. By giving the Iraqi people more control over their own future, we will be giving them a moral boost and instilling in them a sense of patriotism that they most likely have not experienced before. Once they attain this, Iraq will begin to prosper as a nation, and iraqis as a people.

Mr. Bretzmann said...

I heard someone say today that the Iraq Study Group's plan was not "Cut and Run", but "Cut and STAY". Accurate or not, it's clever.

RaStauss said...

I agree with the Iraq Study group that we should pull troops out of iraq, however i think it should be earlier than 2008. I do agree that some troops should be kept in iraq in case thier troops need help, i do not think that we should commit ourselves to saving them everytime the country gets in trouble with a terriorist group, we just need to withdraw slowly so they can gain independence